How Do We Show Ourselves That Our Desires Matter?

Hey Gang

I attended Jennifer Louden’s Masterclass last night.  It was great to see her so excited about sharing her thoughts on the top three hidden fears that keep us from doing our work in the world – the work we so deeply desire to do.

Jen gave us all a wonderful worksheet to fill in after the class in order to help us explore our own hidden fears and solidify some of the wise ways that she has discovered to deal with these fears and to begin to pursue the things we desire.

These desires run the gamut from:

  • that book we want to write
  • that clutter we want to banish
  • those scrapbooks we want to make for the Gran-babies

Whatever it is that falls into that place of:

I keep saying I want to do — but I never get around to it, or am entirely UNABLE to do it!

I love that she ended the worksheet with a challenge for us to share OUT LOUD what we will do this week to show ourselves that our desires matter.

Here’s what I’m gonna do.

This week, I will show myself that my desires matter by taking time each evening to do  the following:

  • Jen’s 90 second antidote to FEAR:
    • Calm my nervous system with a few long exhales (Calm)
    • Look around my environment and see that there is nothing here that can eat me (Come into this moment and see your Environment)
    • Ask myself who is having these thoughts that are scaring me/telling me my desires don’t matter (Witness)
    • Declare that I am doing this course and this project because I WANT TO. (Activate Desire)
    • Do the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown and then either do my next Simple Step or journal for 5 minutes about what it is I want to do next and then ADD these Simple Steps to my Todoist
  • And for deeper contemplation, on Friday evening,  I will do a 15 minute meditation wherein I use Vipassana to settle into my body and feel my body sensations and then open up to asking myself what it is I am truly seeking/why this project is so important to me/what I would like to do next.  And then write out anything that rises to the surface and then ADD the Simple Steps to my Todoist.
  • I will also post this on Facebook and Insta – to show myself that it MATTERS!


And hey – if you find this whole thing intriguing but weren’t able to come to the masterclass last night.  Here’s a link to the GSSD Masterclass REPLAY.


Go easy ~p

PS – Todoist is a new app I am trying out to keep track of … all the stuff I want/need to do each day.  I’ve used reminders and I always have my trusty Bullet Journal – but I wanted to give this app a try.

Getting Our Scary Sh*t DONE!

Hullo Sweeties!

I am getting so excited!
I will be serving as a coach for Jennifer Louden’s upcoming seven week course on Getting Your Scary Sh*t Done.

Most of you know by now that I spend some time every week with Jen at The Writer’s Oasis. I love and appreciate her work (and support) so much and now I get to work alongside her to support others who want to dive in and get to work on a new or ongoing project.


I will be serving as a coach and I will also be working through the course myself as I prepare to begin a new novel.

There is still time to sign up and Jen is offering a free masterclass on Monday Sept 23 where you can learn more about the course. I will be there and the adventure will begin!

Click the link below to check it out!

Get Your Scary Sh*t Done Masterclass

Time for another 3 Day Novel…

Hullo Sweeties…

Yes. I am still alive. Still here, though I have been silent for a long long LOOOOOONG time.  So long that I don’t even really remember how to DO this.

But here I am.  I’ve an urge to begin blogging again and so – what better time than tonight, as I teeter on the cusp of a new story. It’s 8:04 PM and I am out in the Writing Burrow. The 3 Day Novel Contest begins at midnight. I’ve been excited about this year’s adventure for a few months, but tonight I am gripped with fear.

Here I am again with no real outline and just a character and I am afraid that there won’t be a way forward. Though, there always is. That is the deepest joy of this weekend for me. Just letting the words flow out onto the page. Side-stepping, faking out and sometimes even body-slamming my inner-critic into submission. BOOM!

It’s exhilarating.

The day spun by me as I cleaned and prepped the new Writing Burrow. Isn’t it a beauty?

This is the Golden Falcon when she first arrived. I love her!
BedNest in the Writing Burrow

I also got a sweet new haircut from the Raggedy Man. That’s how we roll.

And voila! A new hairdoo!

I cooked up a vat of Hot n Sour soup, chopped some veggies and fruit for easy hand to mouth action and baked some chicken breasts to gnaw on. There is also plenty of dark chocolate, coffee, herbal tea, juices and water on hand.

I am ready.

I will chat with my pals over in the 3 Day Novel CHATzone and sip some tea and watch the sky darken.

At midnight, I will begin.

By midnight on Monday – I will have a new novella to play with.

Wish me luck!

Onward! ~p

PS: This is the fortune I got today in an ancient cookie.  I think it bodes well…

My fortune for today.

making room for magic…

Hullo Sweeties

As some of you know, I’ve been hanging out with Jennifer Louden over at the OASIS for a while now. I just passed into my second year as a member and I am still loving up the space that Jen creates and holds for us and her most excellent, gentle, way of leading us down fascinating paths of inquiry.

Our theme for October is “Make Room for Magic
Mmmmm – isn’t that delicious?

I sat out on the step this morning thinking about magic and what it means to me these days. What I think it IS.

I’ve always liked Starhawk’s definition of magic in The Spiral Dance: “the art of sensing and shaping the subtle unseen forces that flow throughout the world.”  Though I lean more to the sensing these days than the shaping.

I feel magic in the moments of… expanded consciousness… that come with the remembering/seeing again how radically inter-connected everything is. I say “radically” because I think that this way of seeing is radical. We humans tend, so much to FORGET this inter-connectedness as we cling to our individuality.

As I sat and considered how I invite magic into my life these days, I realized that it is with my meditation practice.  Vipassana.  The noticing of the sensations and the constant flux of these sensation.  Always changing changing changing.  And the joy I feel in the noticing and, even more so, in the lack of needing to CHANGE anything myself — by any type of act of will.  Right now, anyhow.

I see that I block magic by…getting “busy” with work that is not creative (and/or challenging) and by sliding into my old shadow comfort of tooooooo muuuuuuuch television 🙂  The things that take me away from… simple mindfulness.

Jen asked us to think about the last time we experienced magic in our lives. What happened and what it felt like.
I wrote this lil ditty in response…


Road Magic

Seeing the sandhill cranes yesterday—a pair of them standing in a marshy spot just off the road.
That flash of red over their eyes—like a brushstroke—shifted the entire world for me
into the most glorious painting.
Like I could see it—more clearly. Just for a moment.

And then, I spoke to tell you that I had seen them
and the spell was broken. 

But the beauty stayed with me awhile.
The noticing.
—the colour of the leaves.
—the road ahead of us freshly paved and painted with yellow lines.
—your smile. 

The way the water lay on the river when we pulled into the yard
home from our travels.

I look forward to inviting more magic into my life this month by…

NOTICING the beauty of this place I am so fortunate to live in.
I will take some long walks up the lane and at least one into the bush along a trail, just to notice.


May your month be filled with magic as well.
Go easy ~p

I will take life….

I will take life and say, “yes” to it this week…
By returning again and again to the breath filling my lungs
By noticing the transitions, the “between” times
Returning again and again to the awareness that as my life is flowing along
—a stream of time, of movement, of happenings, of encounters—
that there are moments when a twitch of my fins can send me down a channel that I choose.

That I have the chance to choose

—again and again and again—

instead of being simply pulled along by the current.

I will take life and say yes to it this week
by choosing
and choosing
and choosing



I cannot settle to the work today.

The Fears have me by the throat.

Fear of Not Enough –

not enough money

not enough talent

not enough brains to save

myself from drowning

from debt

from the voices that cry out again and again and again

that I am not




I cannot settle to the work today

but Desire has me by the heart

and she whispers a question,

“Good enough for what?

To live?

To breathe this soft air, like the old man in the sea?”
Yesterday, I sat on the sun hot shore drawing pictures in my book of people selling oysters from wheelbarrows, offering silver and wooden carvings, woven bracelets, paintings and clothes, sticks of candied apples and mangoes and shrimp and colourful kites shaped like parachutes with plastic men dangling from them (so much bigger than the poop-a-troopers my sister and I threw off the garage roof at the farm when I was ten). Down the beach, I noticed people walking into the water. The waves were high and loud. They walked in fully clothed. A man in a red plaid shirt and dark shorts. A woman in yellow. Two young boys joined them. They lifted the children above the swells until the boys learned to jump the waves and ride them back to shore.

I kept a running tally in my book as I drew. 2 people, 4, 7.

Now there are eleven.

There are twenty-four people! All fully clothed, standing in groups – ankle deep, knee deep, thigh.

I set aside my book to watch them laughing and shrieking at the cold and chatting in Spanish.

Out with the farthest group, I notice an older man. His grey hair glints in the sun and I see that the guy in the plaid shirt and another man are holding him and, like the couple lifted their boys, these men lift the old man as the waves crest around their chests.
Then the old man stands on his own, knees bent and taking a small jump as each wave comes. The men give him space, but stand by to steady him as he lands. I can’t hear their voices over the crash of the surf, but their joy is clear.

The old man waded back into the shallows on his skinny old man legs, and his family cheered him as he passed. The women reaching out to him. The children taking his hand and walking alongside him to the shore.

And that old man’s face held so much joy that it cracked my heart and let me remember—that these things are free.

The joy in the rushing water.

The solid support of the earth.

The frigate birds riding the breeze.

The curious dog who lay near me on the sand.

The feeling of sun on my skin and the taste of salt

on my lips.
I cannot settle to the work today, and yet—

these words flow out onto the page

and the waves hit the shore

and this soft air

is ours for the taking.

~ La Penita Jaltemba 2.16.17


A year end offering: A few of my favourite things…

Hullo Sweeties

I find myself in a strange, disconnected, space tonight.  I did not sleep well (meaning AT ALL) last night.  I fell into some kind of awful sleep coma from about 8am til 11:30 and emerged from it wishing that I had just gotten out of bed at 4:15 am when I was wide awake and not feeling like some sort of swamp beast.

That said, I really wanted to drop a wee line to thank you for hanging out with me in 2016.  What a year, what a  year, what a year…. And how very fast they fly by me.

I want to say, “May 2017 be a fabulous year for you!”  And I do hope that.  But the hype the hype the hype of all the “make this your BEST year YET!” and alla that…well… in all honesty I just find it bloody exhausting.

My aim for 2017, if I even have an aim other than showing up as honestly and truthfully as I can to each moment, is to Keep It Simple.


To continue the practices that I know make me feel better.  That thing I like to call “making AMESS” each day.

  • A – wake up and decide to be Awesome (which these days translates into deciding to be Aware, Awake and present)
  • M – Move the bod (which these days is a 20 minute (or more) walk)
  • E – Eat breakfast.  (Even if I roll out of bed at 11:30 feeling like a swamp beast
  • S – Sit (aiming for morning and evening meditations of at least 15 min each)
  • S – Scribble (as always)

I want, very much, to catch myself when I begin to feel the urge to cram more…whatever… into my brain. To add another “practice” that I think will somehow make me more worthy of the air I breathe.  To keep click click clicking in search of…what the hell am I even searching for?  Connection, I believe.  Wisdom.

Well, here’s to less click clicking for me and more… picking up the phone or gathering with people face to face.

To more meals shared, more walks taken and talks had.

To more time spent offline and unplugged – be it time alone or with friends.

And THAT said – here’s a few online treasures I’ve found this year that I’d like to share with you (in no particular order):

  • The wonderful Black Cardigan Tiny Letter by Carrie Frye: It comes every month (or so) and… I am just in love with her.  If you check out this month’s offering, be sure to click through to The Plath Resolution – a great piece Frye wrote for the Awl back in 2014.
  • Oh hell it’s so good here’s a direct link to the piece:
  • The Oasis with Jennifer Louden: You will find me there most Friday mornings, sipping my tea and scribbling away with Jennifer and all the other wise folk I have met there.
  • My favourite apps of the year have been:
    • Insight Timer – A lovely meditation timer with bells and guided meditations and a fast growing community. I am taking part in the 365 Day challenge this coming year in an attempt to get myself back on a daily meditation roll  and to thereby deepen my practice.
    • Mealboard – a recipe/meal planning app that I love.  Came in especially handy when I was experimenting with an Anti-Inflammatory diet with Julia Daniluk’s ( great book Meals That Heal Inflammation.
    • Overdrive – where I borrow heaps and heaps of e-books from the library.

And finally – this wonderful musician I discovered on the Insight Timer app and now can not get enough of. I love listening to his stuff while I sit or while I soak in the bath.  Ahhhh…. especially good with headphones.


You can find out more about Jonathan (Jon) Adams and his lovely sound work over at

Please feel free to share any treasures you may have found this year with me down in the comment section, or by email, or hell, drop me an old school letter.  I love that.

Sending out bright sparkly wishes for peace and goodwill.

Happy New Year to one and all.

Go easy ~p

telling our stories (a NaNoWriMo wrap-up)

The Raggedy Man took this shot of the ice forming and unforming on the river.  Glorious.

Hullo Sweeties…

Time to wrap up this year’s adventure in NaNoLand.  It was a good month.  An interesting month.

As I read over the posts I made in November I kept dipping back into the work I did on that specific day—seeking both things I want to remember/hold on to for myself and things that may, one day, be turned into work that I could share with the world.

It was interesting to follow my trajectory from…. reaching toward creating pieces that I might be able to “turn into something to send out into the world” meaning short stories or even poems, towards something more… well, heck…. more like what I REALLY do everyday in my ongoing writing practice which is…some of that “outward focussed” work, but mostly more of simply… continuing to explore questions, often spiritual questions, as they arise for me each day.

I decided to gather some things from this month’s meanderings into a new Scrivener project.  As I was about to create a whole new project, I paused and decided to do a search of my hard-drive for already existing projects.  I found something called A Strange Notebook – it was created back in April of 2016 and I had no memory of creating it.

It held one 200 word piece that I do remember writing, but that I had lost in the MASS of words words words I write every day.

So many words.

this-small-thingAnd so strong the yearning to offer up… just one small, beautiful, thing.  A thing that can be held in the hand.  Held in the heart.


I had a lovely experience / revelation / reminder of the power of something this week.

I met a friend for tea (or water and a pop actually) and amidst our “catching ups” we got to talking about poetry.  I spoke of my love of what I see as “sacred” poetry — the works of Mary Oliver, Rumi, Leonard Cohen.  I began to tell her/recite Oliver’s poem Wild Geese.  I didn’t make it all the way through before my memory failed, but oh oh oh there was such a connection between us as I spoke those words.  My voice slipped down into my belly.  Our eyes really LOOKED into each other.  Her face glowed as she received the words.  It was good.  I had forgotten that.  The power of words carried on the breath – person to person, soul to soul.

I am hungry to return to this way of expressing myself.

I think back to to my time on stage, and especially to the performing/offering up of my two one-woman shows (barefoot and OK: The Passage of Georgia O’Keeffe).  I remember I remember I remember the feeling of doing those shows and the conversations I had with people after each performance.

I remember the power of being in the audience for live theatre and storytelling events.

And I have to smile because… next Friday, December 9th, I will be enjoying time with a friend and we will be spending the entire day in the company of Storytellers.

Isn’t that amazing?

And as I went forth seeking info on this Storycare Symposium, I stumbled upon some information on the 2017 Toronto Storytelling Festival — where my friend will be one of the featured Tellers.  And… I feel such a call to attend this year.

I hesitated to register.  Money.  Almost always it is about money when I hold back on reaching out and grabbing this sort of experience.  I spoke with the Raggedy Man and then we spoke of it again, and yet again.  This morning, he said, “You need to just do it.  Register.  Go.  You need to do this.”

And so, I’m going to do it.

I would like to say:

As soon as I finish this post, I am going to go and sign up for a three day intensive Story Camp and get a pass to the Festival as a whole.

But it looks like the site is still under-construction, so I will have to hold off until the site is up and running.

This feels good.  It feels like a whole new world to explore and it feels like coming home.

I find myself excited about the coming months.  About what they will hold for all of us as we move through the world.  There is so much scary out there, we need to hold to the good that we create ourselves and that we see others creating.

We each need to tend our own patch with open hearts and generous spirits.

We need to listen to each other.

I need to listen.

And we need to speak/write/create and share when we find a truth.

We need to share our stories – soul to soul.

Onward ~p

Links to upcoming Storytelling fun in Toronto:

Storycare Symposium 2016:

Toronto Storytelling Festival 2017:

the gift of Bean…and others…

Mostly Happy Cover

Sending out wishes for Happy Holidays to one and all and… here’s something lovely that warms my heart. Five novels are on sale this week over at Thistledown Press and sweet Bean is included in the mix.

Tis an honour to be keeping company with these wonderful authors and their work.

Here’s the covers to tempt you.

Click on the cover to go directly to the sales page and learn more about the book and the author.

Mostly Happy Cover
Mostly Happy by Pam Bustin
Path of the Jaguar by Stephen Henighan
Cluck by Lenore Rowntree
Rose’s Run by Dawn Dumont
After You’ve Gone by Lori Hahnel

They are all on sale for 30% off this week!

Happy shopping.

go easy ~p

hold to the truth…


Dark moon today…and this year’s adventure in NaNoLand is winding down.

I’ve crossed the “finish line” of 50,000 words written.

Tomorrow brings a fresh new moon and I will return to my regular writing practice.

I stumbled on this poem a few days ago and have been carrying it around with me.

All the True Vows

by David Whyte

All the true vows
are secret vows
the ones we speak out loud
are the ones we break.

There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.

Hold to the truth you make
every day with your own body,
don’t turn your face away.

Hold to your own truth
at the center of the image
you were born with.

Those who do not understand
their destiny will never understand
the friends they have made
nor the work they have chosen

nor the one life that waits
beyond all the others.

By the lake in the wood
in the shadows
you can
whisper that truth
to the quiet reflection
you see in the water.

Whatever you hear from
the water, remember,

it wants you to carry
the sound of its truth on your lips.

in this place
no one can hear you

and out of the silence
you can make a promise
it will kill you to break,

that way you’ll find
what is real and what is not.

I know what I am saying.
Time almost forsook me
and I looked again.

Seeing my reflection
I broke a promise
and spoke
for the first time
after all these years

in my own voice,

before it was too late
to turn my face again.

“All the True Vows” from The House of Belonging by David Whyte. Copyright © 1997, 2004 by David Whyte.

Also discovered….

A wonderful gathering of Sacred Poetry:

I will take some time today to flip back through the posts I’ve made this month and all the words the words the words captured on this month long trek.

It’s been fun to come here to the blog almost every day with some small offering.

Thanks for keeping me company.

go easy ~p


Starting Over

Because there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to do it over

Ailish Sinclair

Stories and photos from Scotland

Cathy Standiford

Historical fiction, poetry, essays

Starting Over

Because there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to do it over

Ailish Sinclair

Stories and photos from Scotland

Cathy Standiford

Historical fiction, poetry, essays

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